Celebrating the opening of the Platinum Jubilee Pollinator Garden left to rigt are students, Kaylin Sutherland, Arlo Iacobucci and Ady Keyes. Standing behind the students left to right, Chloe Preston, Hugh Metcalfe and North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser. Morin Photo

MOUNTAIN – North Dundas celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee anniversary with the opening of the Platinum Jubilee Pollinator Garden at the Mountain Memorial Park on Mon., June 13.

North Dundas mayor Tony Fraser was the master of ceremonies for the opening.

The opening ceremony began with Jo-Anne McCaslin singing “O Canada” and at the end of the ceremony, piper Hugh Metcalfe played his pipes with a closing song.

Fraser said, “This garden was created in honour of  her majesty Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee.”

He said it was important that the ecosystem be maintained whenever it can be.

Hugh Metcalfe said: “The garden features 12 different special native plants. I tried to choose 12 different species that offer great benefits to all birds and pollinators.”

The 1,200 sq foot garden features perennial plants that hopefully help attract bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds or other beneficial creatures that transfer pollen from flower to flower, or in some cases, within flowers.

The summer setting was perfect for 63 students from Nationview Public School who attended the opening ceremony and organizers who explained how the garden came into being.

Councillor Theresa Bergeron and Coun. Gary Annable attended the event.

Annable said, “I cannot think of a better way to honour the Queen. You never see a picture of the Queen without flowers in the forefront, the background or in her hands. It is also more importantly a good way to help Mother Nature with birds and the bees.” He told the students that when they are adults, perhaps they will remember the plants that are here and decide to plant their own gardens and help Mother Nature.

Bergeron  gave the children present a brief educational explanation of why the garden was important.

Bergeron said that humanity was facing challenges because of climate change.

She explained how the Monarch butterfly, once plentiful in Canada was now on the endangered list. The butterfly can only lay its eggs on one plant, the milkweed plant.

She said when she was younger all the farmers’ fields were ringed with fences and along the fences grew the important Milkweed plant that the monarch butterfly needs to survive.

She said over time, fields were expanded, trees cut down and fence lines cleared of native plants like Milkweed. Bergeron has Milkweed on her farm.

“People finally realized what the problem was and started to plant Milkweed and

last year for the first time in a long time I saw two caterpillars,” she said.

“People finally realized what the problem was and started to plant Milkweed”

Nationview teacher Linda De La Torre said, “The students at Nationview PS have taken a keen interest in gardening. We have planted a full vegetable garden in our garden boxes. We have been learning in both our English and French literacy programs about the importance of taking care of the Earth, about sustainability and pollinators.”

She said she would like to learn from the pollinator garden and perhaps making one of their own at the school next fall.

SDSG MP  Eric Duncan and newly elected MPP Nolan Quinn spoke to the students telling the students there have been lots of little projects happening across Canada to celebrate the Queen’s anniversary, and the garden was a fitting tribute to the Queen.

MPP Quinn said, pollinators and birds were very important to our world. He hoped the students would remember this moment.

Christina Enright the leader of the Butterfly Away project explained that as wildlife refuges disappear, individuals could help the affected plants, birds, and insects by planting their own small pollinator gardens where they live.

She explained that in Ontario, it was against the law to bring the Monarch butterfly into your house. “You need a special permit to do so.”

She said she has a special little building at her house where the Monarch butterfly can live.

Enright wanted the children to understand that they could do something to help the Monarch butterfly.

The project was driven by Chloe Preston, executive assistant to the CAO and deputy clerk said, “We started the project planning back in December when the Jubilee grant applications came out. We were considering ideas of how we could utilize the grant funding and came up with the idea of a pollinator garden after a presentation by Hugh Metcalfe of Naturaide.”

At that point, the idea was only about finding a location to plant a pollinator garden.

“We reviewed a lot of the locations that we had. Mountain had adequate square footage for the garden, as well we wanted to bring something to this area to encourage people to use the park,” said Preston.

Metcalfe provide all of the plants. PV Signs in South Mountain provided all of the project signs, which were designed by Susan Marriner of Marriner Design. Byers Carpentry built the archway at the entrance to the garden.

Preston said the project has evolved as it moved along and in the end she is hoping it will be a great attraction to the park.

“We are very pleased about how it has turned out. We are hoping that people will utilize it in the future for educational activities, maybe 4-H would use it for some of their activities, and the Guides and Scouts, and as it matures it could be used for wedding photos.”

Metcalfe had to analyze the soil so that he could match the soil conditions with appropriate plants.

“I had to bring in some topsoil, as the soil around here is very sandy,” said Metcalfe.

“The plants do well in either dry conditions or in all different soil types.”

Maintaining the garden will hopefully be minimal.

Metcalfe said they had a very heavy layer of mulch on top of landscape fabric so there should not be a great deal of weeding involved.

After the garden opening, the students were given egg cartons with seeds in them. The entire carton can be planted and next year the children should have flowers in their yards.